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Implementing and using the TextEncrypted property type

Updated on August 10, 2022

Single Value, Value List, and Value Group properties can be encrypted by using the Password and TextEncrypted encryption types. Both types produce encrypted or hashed values for the property value within the PegaRULES database, and both types offer some degree of security within the user interface. Another encryption type, PropertyEncrypt, can be used for all properties when your implementation uses attribute-based access control.

Note: The PropertyEncrypt encryption type is preferred to the TextEncrypted type described here, as it takes effect more broadly and can be used for all property types.

If you have a legacy implementation that uses the TextEncrypted type, consider these factors:

  • The Password type requires no advanced configuration or Java skills to set up. Several standard properties implement this type; for example, the property Data-Admin-Operator-ID.pyPwdCurrent. Pega Platform applies the one-way MD5 algorithm to this value, which is never sent to any external system.
  • The TextEncrypted type requires one-time Java coding of encryption Java functions of your choice to implement a Public API Interface.
  • On Pega Platform forms, the display of a value of a Password property is a string of asterisks, for all users, in all situations. The Password value is never decrypted. In contrast, the value of a TextEncrypted property can appear in clear text or as asterisks, depending on the runtime outcome of an access when rule ( Rule-Access-When rule type). Thus your application can make the clear-text value visible to specific users, or on certain reports, or during specified time periods.
  • Password properties are initially added to the clipboard as unencrypted, clear text values. The system computes the hashed value only as the page is committed to the PegaRULES database. Thereafter, the hashed value appears in both the clipboard and the database row. Properties for passwords for the Operator IDs, rulesets, and ruleset versions are of mode Password.
  • TextEncrypted values are always encrypted on the clipboard and in server-to-database network messages.

Implementing the TextEncrypted type

1. Choose and apply the type of cipher for your implementation of Pega Platform. Choose from platform cipher or custom cipher.

2. Create one or more properties that use the TextEncrypted type. Complete the General tab:

  • Set the Type to TextEncrypted.
  • Set the Control field to ShowTextEncryptedPropertyValue.
  • In the Access When field, enter the second key part (When Name) of a Rule-Access-When rule that determines whether the property value appears as decrypted cleartext or asterisks. The Rule-Access-When rule can depend on any properties in the Applies To class, plus properties on the pxRequestor page or other clipboard pages.

3. Reference the property normally in other rules.

Caution: If you optimize a TextEncrypted property for reporting, make the exposed column size greater than the number of characters of your longest cleartext value to avoid truncation of the exposed values. The required size of a TextEncrypted property depends on your cipher. In most cases, for 64 characters of cleartext, 255 characters are adequate for the encrypted value.

Comparisons

You can use a TextEncrypted property in expressions, testing for equality or inequality only. Call the standard function rule encryptPropertyValue() to encrypt the comparison value (a constant, a property value, or computed text value) before the comparison. For example:

@encryptPropertyValue("Virginia") == .myEncryptProperty
.myEncryptProperty != @encryptPropertyValue(.pyLabel)

The access when rule test and automatic encryption (or decryption) occur only as users interact with a form. In all other cases, your application must explicitly call the functions.

Caution: When you use comparisons other than equality or inequality, the results are unpredictable.

Type conversions

Pega Platform does not perform automatic type conversions for TextEncrypted properties during Property-Set operations. As a result, it is rarely useful to directly assign an encrypted value to another property, or assign another property value to a TextEncrypted property.

When a TextEncrypted property is set to a value, the system encrypts the value unless it is already encrypted. Consider the following example:

In an activity, a Property-Set method operates on two properties MyEncrypted of type TextEncrypted, and MyText of type Text.

After the first of these three lines executes, the value in property MyEncrypted is encrypted. After the second line, the value in property MyText matches the value of MyEncrypted. No encryption or decryption takes place. After the third line, MyEncrypted holds the encrypted value from "Rosebud." Encryption is implicit.

PropertiesNamePropertiesValue
.MyEncrypted[email protected]("Hello World")
.MyText.MyEncrypted
.MyEncrypted"Rosebud"

Reports

To use a TextEncrypted property as a selection criteria on the Content tab of a report definition rule:

  1. Expose the TextEncrypted property a database column.
  2. Enter the clear text value (or a property reference for the comparison) in the Value field.
  3. Select either Is Equal To or Is Not Equal To for the comparisons.
  4. Enter EncryptTextPropertyValue in the Edit Input field.
Caution: If you use comparisons other than Is Equal To or Is Not Equal To, the results are unpredictable.

Services and connectors

If an external system calls a service and sends to Pega Platform a (clear text) value for a field that is mapped to a TextEncrypted property, the value becomes encrypted as soon as it reaches the clipboard.

Responses to service calls and connector requests normally send only the encrypted value. Your application can call the standard function @decryptPropertyValue( ) to send the decrypted, clear text value, but only in a context when the access when rule is true.

Note:

Do not send an encrypted property value to an external system that expects the clear-text value.

On the Clipboard tool display, the value of a TextEncrypted property is blank.

Except as described here, Pega Platform treats the value of a TextEncrypted property similar to a Text property. Your application can place dates or numbers in the value, but validation does not occur.

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